The Blind Side (2009)
Director: John Lee Hancock.
Starring: Sandra Bullock (Leigh Anne Tuohy), Tim McGraw (Sean Tuohy), Quinton Aaron (Michael Oher), Jae Head (S.J. Tuohy), Lily Collins (Collins Tuohy), Ray McKinnon (Coach Burt Cotton), Kim Dickens (Mrs. Boswell), Adriane Lenox (Denise Oher), Kathy Bates (Miss Sue).
a rich, southern white family takes in a huge black student who can really play football
This was a favorite movie of 2009. It was a feel good movie because a rich, southern white family helps out a poor black high school student by taking him into their home.
But I for one was not feeling good. It was a nice thing the southern family did, but what is revealed about the south in the movie is not so good. It is still a very, very segregated society.
Their children go to Wingate Christian School, which looks as white as white can be without any visible blacks around. As soon as the civil rights legislation or 1964 and 1968 were passed, the white southerners started enrolling their children in private Christian schools that were usually either all or almost all white as a way to keep racial segregation going.
The character Michael Oher writes in an essay: "I look and I see white everywhere: white walls, white floors and a lot of white people."
Leigh Anne Tuohy has lunch with her wealthy girlfriends. She asks them if they have ever been to the "other" side of town and they look at her like she's crazy or doing charity work. The girlfriends joke that they should get out their checkbooks.
The Tuohy family include the huge Michael in their Christmas photo. The women joke that maybe Leigh Anne should adopt Michael. But Leigh Anne takes them seriously and says Michael will soon be 18 so it doesn't make much sense to legally adopt. The women are clearly stunned by Leigh Anne's answer. One girlfriend asks her if this is some kind of white guilt thing? Leigh Anne tells the women that that they don't have to agree with her decisions, but they must at least respect her decisions. She adds that the women don't know how much this boy has been through. One woman asks isn't Leigh Anne afraid for her daughter Collins with a big black boy living under the same roof?
At a football game, Leigh Anne asks her family if they have ever seen so many rednecks in one place? Her son says there's much more at NASCAR events. On the gridiron a linebacker on the opposing team keeps taunting Michael: "You better stay off my field. You are not welcome here! This is my field!" The redneck father of the linebacker says: "Oh, that's my boy Jimmy. Number 66! Kicking that blue gum's ass." Now I don't know about you but blue gum sounds like a racial slur to me. Later in the game, Number 66 kicks Michael in the head when he's down on the ground. And the redneck referee gives Wingate a 15 yard penalty for the coach protesting about the foul. Michael's coach even calls the referee a redneck. Leigh Anne calls the father: "Hey, Deliverance!"
Leigh Anne interviews a possible tutor for Michael. The female applicant tells Leigh Anne: "Mrs. Tuohy, um, there's something you should know about me. I don't usually tell many people but it's something I feel you should be aware of before you hire me." "I'm a Democrat." The rich, white people in the South are almost all Republicans as the South switch from being predominantly Democratic before the 1960s civil right legislation passed, but afterwards switched over to the Republicans.
Mr. Tuohy tells Leigh Anne: "Who'd have thought we'd have a black son before we knew a Democrat?" Wow, that's pretty awful!
There are lots of other examples of racism shown in the film.
Patrick Louis Cooney, Ph. D.
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